Myanmar police arrest actor after two killed in protests By Reuters


© Reuters. Police and soldiers are seen during protests against the military coup, in Mandalay

(Reuters) – Myanmar police arrested a famous actor wanted for supporting the opposition in a Feb. 1 coup, his wife said on Sunday, hours after two people were killed when police and soldiers fired to disperse the protests in the second city of Mandalay. The violence in Mandalay on Saturday was the bloodiest day in more than two weeks of demonstrations in cities and towns in Myanmar demanding an end to the military regime and the release from the arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others. Demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes and disruptions show no signs of abating, and opponents of the military are skeptical of the army’s promise to hold new elections and hand over power to the winner. The actor, Lu Min, was one of six celebrities the military said Wednesday were wanted under an anti-incitement law for encouraging public officials to join the protest. The charges can carry a prison sentence of two years. Lu Min has participated in several protests in Yangon. His wife, Khin Sabai Oo, said in a video posted on her Facebook page (NASDAQ 🙂 that the police had arrived at his home in Yangon and taken him away. “They forced the door and took him away and they didn’t tell me where they were taking him. I couldn’t stop them. They didn’t tell me.” Military spokesman Zaw Min Tun, who is also the spokesman for the new military council, has not responded to repeated attempts by Reuters to contact him by phone for comment. An activist group, the Association for the Assistance to Political Prisoners, said on Saturday that 569 people have been arrested, charged or convicted in connection with the coup. In another incident in Yangon on Saturday night, a night watchman was shot and killed. Burmese Radio Free Asia service said police had shot him, but it was not clear why. Communities have been posting more guards for fear of raids by security forces. “DEEPLY CONCERNED” The more than two weeks of protests had been largely peaceful, unlike previous episodes of opposition during nearly half a century of direct military rule, which ended in 2011. Members of ethnic minorities, poets, rappers and workers in the Transport marched in several locations on Saturday, but tension quickly mounted in Mandalay, where police and soldiers clashed with striking shipyard workers. Some of the protesters fired catapults at the police as they played cat and mouse through the riverside streets. Police responded with tear gas and gunshots, and witnesses said they found the cartridges of real rounds and rubber bullets on the ground. Two people were shot dead and 20 wounded, said Ko Aung, leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service. Police were not available for comment. A young protester, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, died on Friday after being shot in the head last week when police dispersed a crowd in the capital Naypyitaw, the first death among anti-coup protesters. The army says a policeman died from injuries sustained in a protest. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was “deeply concerned” by reports that security forces had fired on protesters and continued to detain and harass protesters and others. “We support the people of Burma,” Price wrote on Twitter. Myanmar is also known as Burma. Britain said it would consider taking further action against those involved in violence against protesters, and the French Foreign Ministry called the violence “unacceptable”. “The shooting against peaceful protesters in Myanmar is beyond pale,” British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Twitter. “We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those who crush democracy and stifle dissent.” The United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have announced limited sanctions since the coup, with a focus on military leaders. The nightly news on state television MRTV did not mention the protests or the victims. The army regained power after denouncing fraud in the November 8 elections that swept Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, detaining her and others. The electoral commission had dismissed the allegations of fraud. However, the army says its action is within the constitution and has the support of the majority of the people. The army has blamed the protesters for instigating the violence. Suu Kyi faces one charge for violating a Natural Disaster Management Act and illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. His next court appearance is March 1.